Jane Austen’s Persuasion

BBC Warner / 93 minutes / Region 1

Sally Hawkins, Rupert Penry-Jones, Alice Krige, Julia Davis, Anthony Head

We are definitely going through something of a Jane Austen revival at the moment, everywhere we look there are new adaptations of her books, which themselves are flying off the shelves quicker than an Harry Potter novel. It’s because they deal with that strongest of human emotions – love. Romance or lack of it, lies at the heart of almost all Austen and this lavish all star new release from BBC Warner is no exception.

ITV in the UK and Masterpeice Theatre in the US recently got together for a trio of Austen adapatations, the other two were Mansfield Park and Northanger Abbey and we can now enjoy the best of the three again.

The time is Regency England and it’s a classic story of lost love and a chance to regain happiness. Sally Hawkins plays Anne Elliot, who has been persuaded by her family to break off her engagement to the man she loved; penniless sailor, Frederick Wentworth (Rupert Penry-Jones). Things go from bad to worse as Anne’s father Sir Walter Elliot (Anthony Head) brings the family to the brink of financial ruin, and forces them to move out of their beloved home, Kellynch Hall, and go to Bath. Then, the now Captain Wentworth re-enters Anne’s life having made his fortune…

It’s a classic tale, supremely well told and the casting is superb, besides those already mentioned we have the brilliant Julia Davis (of Nighty Night fame), Alice Krige, Nicholas Farrell and Stella Gonet. Simon Burke does a nice job with bringing in a modern edge to the screenplay, the lovers here get to share a kiss, something that just couldn’t happen in Austen’s book because of the times she wrote in but modern day audiences definitely do need that sense of fulfilment.

Definitely a must see for all lovers of romantic “bonnet” drama.